I’ve always loved celebrating other people’s birthdays. I like to make a big fuss about them- surprises! presents! parties! I love all of it. This year, though, I’m turning 30 and it’s turning into a big dang deal! My parents are flying out from NH to celebrate, we’re gonna throw a big party, and I’m realizing that I will have achieved a few of the goals I set for myself both recently and over the past few years.
30 is a milestone that I’ve anxiously anticipated since I moved to Los Angeles almost 10 years ago. Being 30, I’ve always thought, is real adulthood. People who are 30 are in committed relationships, they have established careers, they own houses, they’re having kids, and they know how to play as hard as they work.
As I read those goals I’m struck by how arbitrary they feel… Some of them resonate deeply with me and some of them I’m proud to say I’ve already accomplished… some of them sound so cliché. In reality, though, 30 truly is just a number. It’s a numerical reminder of what I’ve worked for and what I need to work harder on.
Recently I’ve become acutely aware of a shift in my thought processes. I’ve found a new sense of empathy where previously I’ve sat in judgement. I’ve recognized new levels of patience where before there were short-tempered reflexes. I’ve given a lot of thought to the ways I’ve handled myself, both personally and professionally, and it’s occurred to me that so many of my frustrations were born of a lack of understanding. Maybe this is what it means to get older… maybe the old adage “you’ll understand when you’re older” is true.
The biggest gift that my 30th birthday will bring is the reflection it’s inspired in me… and the opportunity to craft new goals and manifest the future.